Equine Colic

Colic in horses is a common problem. Learn to recognize the signs and when to get help for your tall friends.

The other day I was talking with my friend who grew up riding horses. She rode her horse, Eddie, for 10 years before he died from colic. How tragic! Colic is a serious condition that commonly occurs in horses. Approximately ten percent of all horses suffer at least one bout of colic during their lifetime. Do you know the signs and what to do about it?

The most common sign of colic is abdominal pain. However, colic includes a vast variety of abdominal pain. It can range from excess gas to severe twisting of the intestines. It can also include stomach ulcers, or sores in the stomach. A horse has a better chance to completely recover if a diagnosis is made quickly. So horse owners can play a life-saving role by recognizing the early signs of colic.

All forms of horse colic will begin with mild pain, and may include the other following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Groaning/Yawning
  • Repeatedly curling the upper lip
  • Standing in a stretched position
  • Lying down repeatedly
  • Looking at the flank
  • Rolling repeatedly
  • Sweating excessively

Some forms of colic will fix themselves, but most cases do need the help of an animal doctor. If you notice these symptoms in your animal, contact your veterinarian immediately. Also remove food from your horse’s stable. Although most horses suffering from colic are not interesting in eating, some equines with a mild case may want to nibble. It is best to keep your horse as quiet and comfortable as possible until the vet arrives.

For other questions, talk to your animal doctor.

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